Sunday, December 02, 2012

Pine Grosbeak

Grosbeaks are a member of the finch (Fringillidae) family. 

Pine Grosbeaks usually breed in the Boreal Forest of Northern Canada, where there is snow for two thirds of the year. They are winter visitors to my backyard. The come south to look for food. Periodically, during irruption years when seed crops fail, they nest in the warmer southern regions of the province. 
Years ago, when my daughters were kindergarten or early elementary age, a Pine Grosbeak was stunned after flying into one of our windows. The berries they eat ferment over time and the alcohol content is enough to impair flight. This was a likely factor. The bird could not fly but could walk and the grosbeak paced back and forth in a trench behind our house. My daughters named the bird "Pacer." A few hours later the bird flew away, with my advice never to drink and fly again. 
This grosbeak enjoyed some seeds that persisted through winter on a Japanese Tree Lilac in my garden. 


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. 
Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.

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